Is advice from an expired VCP like drinking dodgy milk?

Update! VMware has removed the mandatory re-certification requirement from all current certifications! Read More about what this means here.

Expired VCP? Time to renew.

The concept of certification expiration is irksome to many in the IT industry. I remember when my MCSE timed out way back in the day. When I did the project management PMP certification I was very disheartened it expired in 2 years. I could no longer put it down on my CV any more. To keep current I had to log 40 hours of volunteering or attend various lectures on Project Management.

Have you an expired VCP? Keeping up with certifications in the technology world can be a daunting task. Even with the best of intentions to stay up to date, the day job can get in the way. If your role changes, sometimes so does your focus on keeping up with your training.  The next thing you know you are officially expired! Does this mean your past knowledge vanishes as well?

Can I just resit the new Exam?

VMware certification expired VCP
Certificate Expired!
VMware VCP

I suppose a more balanced view would be its always good to be continuously learning. Aren’t we all doing that though? Last week I signed up for the VMware vSphere: Install, Configure, Manage [V6.7] course through my employer. The is part of the Data Center Virtualization (DCV) track. There is only a current exam for certification for  VCP 6.5 as the 6.7 course is not yet ready.

You have to do a course now

The course I joined was delivered online with an Instructor (ILT) and the class had about a dozen students.  My old VCP certification was well expired at this stage! VCP 3 and VCP 4 seems so long ago now. I was a little daunted joining a course thinking I might be out of place.   The first day our instructor had everyone give a short intro. I was surprised to discover most people were in the same boat as me!

Shares, Reservations and Limits – Oh My!

Can I pass the VCP Exam without a course?

A few people had actually already passed the VCP 6.5 this year, but needed to attend the course in order to officially earn the VCP certification. It must be a challenge for any instructor, knowing that some students might lack the motivation to pay attention. I must say our instructor was excellent. If you ever get a chance to take a course led by Rita Thaker, do not hesitate! What I liked most was how she frequently used the whiteboard instead of the lecture slides. She has an excellent ability to explain a topic using a story with her pen and builds it up slowly over time.  Many students commented that they preferred her drawings and were busily taking screen grabs for later study.

You had to be there… Isolation or Partition What if Scenario.

Go on, the course is well worth it.

The course included two EBooks (Lecture and Lab manuals) delivered online through Evantage by Gilmore Global. You sign up for an account and can access the content on any device. The classes were hosted through the  Adobe Connect platform. This allows the instructor to control the learning environment completely. Participation was encouraged but controlled, the mics were muted unless a hand was raised, and normally the chat window was where we interacted.  This has a huge benefit in preventing the classroom Know-It-All or that one painful student that disrupts every lesson with an off-topic question/rant/story (there is ALWAYS one!).

My VCP was well and truly out of date so I needed to do a bit more to get back on track. I needed to attend the course and complete the course eval (to get course credit). Then I need to pass the vSphere 6.5 Foundations exam before I can finally try for the VMware Certified Professional 6.5 – Data Center Virtualization Exam (VCP 6.5 DCV ) .

I know a few people have expressed their annoyance with certification expiration and dismissed the trend as a money racket. To be fair the VMware training is really top notch. In my case I really did need to dust off the brain cells and get back into it.  Hopefully I will get a chance to take the exam in December (this year) and then I will hopefully do better at renewing within the 2 year time-frame, as you only need to pass the latest exam at that point.

Some helpful links for the VCP DCV track:

vSphere Documentation, lots of links from here.

Maximums!  Always guaranteed a question on this.

Online access to Ebooks for Manuals and Lab books.

Hands on Labs! Most people learn best thru practical lessons.

Foundations Practice Exam Sample.

The day job: Presales at the Customer Solution Center

Technology Pre-Sales is a great career.

Someone once told me, the best job that they ever had in their career was in pre-sales. I have thought about that a few times in the past, now I thinpresalesk I know why. At the Dell Technologies Customer Solution Center I get to present to an audience several times a week on technology that interests me, and i have my own lab with real hardware for getting stick time building out solutions! In pre-sales your job is to help customers and sales people to solve problems and close sales. You get the chance to meet customers, discuss solutions to real problems, and to present on the latest technology trends.

Pre-Sales is a bit like teaching…

Every day you are like a teacher, but the students are always fresh and new.  The subjects only stay the same for a while until something new comes out, so you have to stay current on the latest technology.  You participate in the sales process, without the burden of a sales quota.  This means you can also look at the problem without bias and solve it in different ways.  Unlike teaching, it is you that is graded by the audience through a customer’s NPS score, a Partners trust and a sales persons handshake – this leads to a promise of further visits with more customers.

Dell Technologies Customer Solution Centers

When I decided to start this blog, I figured the first post should be about me and where I work. This would be easy, since I have been giving an elevator pitch on what I do almost daily for the last few years in front of customers that visit us in the Limerick Dell Technologies Customer Solution Center.

Every customer engagement at a Solution Center begins the same way.  A customer or partner has a problem (an opportunity) and the sales team needs our help to solve it. The first step is to ask for help, and then we shape an engagement that meets everyone’s needs.  There are three main offerings as part of a Solution Center visit.

The first offering is the Technical Deep Dive

Customers and Partners may be new to the Dell Technologies portfolio or existing customers may want a closer look at the many solutions we offer.  This is above and beyond the typical 101 presentation and could include a Demo or hands-on. These sessions are custom designed to meet the customers expectations rather than a blanket, this is whats on the truck style sales pitch.

The second offering is a Design Workshop.

These are best for customers that are already keenly aware of our portfolio, and have identified a solution that might address their needs.  Here we can help a customer match a solution with their existing environment, or visualize a green field solution based on their requirements.

The last offering is the Proof of Concept.

At this point a customer needs to prove that our solution will achieve the goal they set out to accomplish. They want to set the testing criteria and perform performance testing or functionality testing in our Data Centers and provide proof that their investment will not fall short of their requirements.

How can you engage with the CSC?

So that’s the story. If you think you have an opportunity and would like to engage the help of a CSC (there are 20 around the globe) then feel free to reach out.  You can also find out more here:


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